FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 11, 2008
Contact: Ellen Beth Levitt firstname.lastname@example.org 410-328-8919
In order to provide the healthiest possible environment for its patients, visitors, employees and volunteers, the University of Maryland Medical Center is launching “UMMC Completely Tobacco-Free” on February 14, 2008. The new policy expands the existing hospital ban on all tobacco products inside the hospital’s facilities to the outside sidewalks and walkways that are part of the Medical Center’s property.
The new policy applies to all patients, visitors and employees, says Johnie Carr, director of operations at the Medical Center who has been leading the hospital’s Tobacco-Free Team. “We are committed to creating the healthiest possible environment for everyone who comes here. Smoking is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in this country, and as a leading health care institution, we believe this is the right thing to do,” says Carr.
He adds, “We developed this policy after receiving input from people throughout the Medical Center and reviewing resources provided by various groups including the Maryland Hospital Association.”
The Medical Center is prepared to help those employees and patients who wish to stop smoking with smoking cessation classes, information such as a handbook called Kicking the Habit for Life, and quit-smoking products, such as nicotine replacement lozenges.
Help also is available from the University of Maryland Medical Center’s Patient Resource Center at 410-328-9355 or online at www.umm.edu/kickthehabit.
Carr notes that many other hospitals in the region and around the country are taking the same step of banning all tobacco products from their campuses as an important initiative for the health of all patients, staff and visitors. “Not only are we setting a positive example for our community, we believe that our non-smoking patients, visitors and staff are entitled to smoke-free, litter-free areas surrounding our entrances and other public spaces,” says Carr.
For patient inquiries, call 1-800-492-5538 or click here to make an appointment.